The Frill Of Fishing

Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~Henry David Thoreau

The first time I ever went trout fishing with Dirt Man was a learning experience. I had no idea I’d have to walk so far into the mountains where the fish “hide” in the creeks.

“Quiet. Watch where you step. You’re making too much noise. You’re gonna scare the fish.” All I hear are the crunching of leaves and breaking of twigs. The birds are louder than me.

“Don’t stand over the edge of the bank. The fish can see you.”

“You’re full of crap!”

“Seriously, the fish can see your shadow and won’t bite. And stop talking the fish can hear you.”

I think there is one of two possibilities. One being these fish are supersensitive and intelligent. Two being that Dirt Man really is full of crap. I decide to go with two.

I sulk at the edge of the bank making sure I don’t cast my shadow over the water. I twiddle my thumbs and think of the millions of other things I could be doing. You know important stuff like gossiping with girlfriends or going shopping. Needless to say, Dirt Man does not catch any fish. And of course, it is all my fault.

Back then I was superficial, and had little appreciation for nature. We had a few more successful trips. Dirt Man bought me my own rod and reel. He taught me to cast a fly rod. I found fly fishing to be more challenging and fun. The simple act of coordinating and controlling the line was enough to keep me entertained. I didn’t care less about catching anything…until I caught one. I jumped up and down like a little kid and demanded he take it off the hook. I even managed to thread a squishing gut-squirting worm onto the curve of the hook. I learned to identify native trout from stock trout. Native are smaller and more colorful. I even found there were different types of trout- rainbow, brook, and brown. I want to say there is even one called cutthroat. But then again maybe I am confusing a description he used. (I obviously was not the best student!)

Even after I became somewhat schooled about trout fishing, we decided it was best for our relationship for Dirt Man to go on his fishing excursions ALONE! Or if I tagged along, I was sure to pack a good novel for my own entertainment. Then we had sons. He had instant fishing companions. Of course, while they were young they made more noise than I ever dreamed. And yes, they even threw rocks into the water! And they fell in a few times as well! Eventually, they absorbed all that Dirt Man tossed their way, and they also came to enjoy fishing for all the same reasons he does.

It has taken me many years to appreciate the true enjoyment of fishing. It has little to do with the fish. They are simply a bonus. (In case you’ve never had a smoked native trout, you have no idea of the delicacy you are missing out on!) It’s all about the solitude. The searching. The connection. If you’ve never experienced it, you won’t understand what I’m talking about. When Dirt Man told me that his being alone was as good for him as the act of fishing, I didn’t get it. It was only until I began to connect with nature and myself while hiking that I truly got it.

Many people fish for fish. Some fish for solitude, silence, and serenity. Others fish for freedom.

Some people are fishers of men.

There are even people who fish for compliments.

I fish for clarity in the connection, the peace and understanding that penetrates my being at any given moment.

What do you fish for in life?

57 thoughts on “The Frill Of Fishing

  1. I understand that some people enjoy fishing. I am not one of those people.

    I am not sure that I fish for anything, I think that I am still enjoying the journey to my fishing spot. 🙂

  2. I’ve always loved to go fishing, even though I haven’t done it since our kids were small. My husband is not a fisherman. I loved the solitude, the connection to nature, and the thrill of the hunt.

    • Silence is what it’s all about….you have to discover it to appreciate it…took me a long time to get it! And if you don’t like solitude you will never like fishing…unless you charter boat fish!

  3. Dirt Man is NOT full of crap. It is profoundly remarkable that he is cognizant of all these important nuances of fishing. In addition to his wisdom of which you are most dismally dismissive, there are additional protocols of which you seem to be unaware. You must wear an appropriate hat to catch fish. You must not have a cell phone, radio or any electronic equipment within 1000 yards. One should not shave at least 3 days prior to the fishing excursion. Fish love to hear saucy limericks esp those of the Shakespearean era. It is important to sprinkle water on your forehead (like baptism at First Presbyterian over on 12th St) to make the fish feel like you are “one of them”. I will stop now because I respect that this is your blog not mine, but please tell Dirt Man that there is at least ONE TRUE AMERICAN that understands.

    • He knows all about the hat thing! And cell phones don’t work where he goes….I’m talking deep into the woods, like only by foot or ATV. I’ll have to relay that info about the limericks…not sure it works with trout! He’s had some really productive outings…wonder if he sprinkled his forehead those days!

  4. I have never gone fishing, After reading this, I have two nephews who loooooooooove to fish and I will purpose to invite myself on their next adventure.
    I think I fish most for and find myself totally content when I ‘catch’ extreme solitude.
    PS I think Dirt Man deserves a more pleasant description (lol)!

    • Enjoy your fishing trip! Merle, Dirt Man actually refers to a poem our oldest wrote when he was in elementary school. Dirt Man is a civil engineer (works in site development) and spent most of his early career on job sites. He often came home quite filthy which thrilled my boys. The oldest wrote a poem about his daddy being the “dirtiest man in the world”! It became a family joke.

  5. Wow! You paint a wonderful picture of Dirtman. As I read the post,I swear I hear whistling. All I can see is the beginning of “Mayberry R.F.D.” with Andy Griffith and Opie walking along,fishing poles in hand! It is nice to know that we still have someone with the love of the simple things in life. Seems that you may know someone for 30 years,and they still amaze you. I am so lucky to have you and Dirtman as family. Love them boys too! Dwight

    • He’d be happy to take you fishing. And he’ll let you whistle until you get near the water, then all noise is off limits! A slice of Mayberry is always nice!

  6. My parents took us kids fishing when we were little — my “fishing” consisted of curling up on a blanket beneath a huge tree and reading a good book (while flapping away the flies and ants!). Nothing better than fresh, fried fish, though!

  7. I always so enjoy your analogies, Suzie!

    Just like this one!

    I’m not one who enjoys fishing, because I think I’m too impatient…which is WHY I should try it again – HA! That, and the idea of placing a live worm on a hook, freaks me out!!!

    Just as you shared…fishing seems almost meditative…

    ” It’s all about the solitude. The searching. The connection.”

    So, yes…I will try fishing again. Perhaps, (after reading this post) I will feel differently about it.

    Thank you for sharing, yet, another enlightening post, Suzi!

    Happy Monday…..X

    P.S. I fish for staying in the moment.

  8. It was so cute to hear about your first catch excitement. I can’t fish because I can’t touch them or the bait. Grosses me out, but I totally understand how the experience would be incredibly relaxing.

    But so is staying home and reading a book. 😉

    I think I fish for answers now.

  9. I grew up fishing … in the boat, off a bridge and on the ice. I enjoyed it the most when I was successful and caught something. I have a new rod and reel I have not used, yet …. like you, I can handle the bait, catching them and I can also cook them. However, I need to find someone to do the missing middle step … someone who can clean them.
    In life I mostly fish for truth and understanding

  10. I’ve been fishing. I loved fishing except for the catching the fish part. I didn’t want to catch anything. I just wanted to hold the rod and be peaceful. I caught 4 fish. I did everything wrong trying not to catch them. I even tried to shake them loose but to no avail.

  11. I also used to hate fishing. I’d always take a book and read while mike fished. Now, I’m the one who wants to go fishing and often go without him. I do love the thrill of catching a fish and getting it to the bank, but you’re right it’s also about just being. Being surrounded by nature and water and silence. When I first got sick, long before I got a diagnosis, I spent alot of time fishing at our lake. The kids would go with me and it just settled me. It was one thing I could still do. Fishing is good for the soul.


  12. I used to fish. Shore fishing mostly. You are right about the solitude. You sit, wait, watch, think, pray, meditate, and once in a while catch fish. And if you catch fish, you must clean them and cook them. I learned to clean them, but it wasn’t the best part of fishing. I liked cooking and eating them. Mostly, I liked sitting on the bank just chillin’ out.

    Thank you for a great post on fishing. Blessings to you, Suzi…

    • I was taught how to properly clean them, but I always got out of it! I love fishing from a boat, lots of fun….however there is no solitude in that. The relaxing way is from the bank. In a couple of weeks we are going to go to our river property for som R&R, and I just might cast a line myself!

  13. Like you, I fish for clarity in the connection, the peace and understanding that penetrates my being at any given moment.

    And I’m not baiting a hook to do it! 😀

    Gorgeous post, Suzi.

    • Much better to be able to WITHOUT baiting a hook…that part is disgusting! I ended up doing it more for my own kids than myself….why couldn’t they be content with those wiggly rubber worm and fake bait?!

  14. Hi Suzicate,
    A lovely tale or is it tail?
    and a terrific opening quote.
    I originally interpreted it as spending your Life following someone else’s dreams( thinking they are also yours) & not your own path…….but hey, that’s me

    be good to yourself

  15. I’ve never been much of a fisher…my dad would have fished every day of his life if he could and was such a stickler about those rules- the quiet, the stillness- that it made me crazy as a kid. I just couldn’t sit still and be quiet. It wasn’t ever a really fun experience, but I went a few times because that was the one thing he’d do with me. I can sit and read in silence or nap in the sun like a champ, now, though, so I went a few times with an ex-boyfriend in my 20’s and didn’t hate it. Still not the thing I love, though.

    As far as life, I think I fish for growth and new experiences. I’m an “I’ll try almost anything once” kind of girl, for sure.

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